The Essential Scripture...


The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Secrets on Cultivating the Mind

Section 36

I hope that all cultivators of the path will study these words carefully; you must have no further suspicious doubts or else you will naturally end up backsliding. If you have the will of a great man and seek supreme bodhi, what will you do if you abandon this [approach]? Do not grasp at the words; you must instead directly grasp the meaning, at every point return to yourselves, and stay in accord with the original guiding principle. Then the wisdom that cannot be learned from any master will naturally appear and that impeccable principle will be clear and unobscured. The perfection of the wisdom-body does not come from any other awakening. Even so, while this sublime truth applies to everyone, unless one starts early with the omniscient wisdom of prajñā ―the core vessel of the Mahāyāna―you will not be able to produce right faith in a single moment of thought. And how can this merely lead to a lack of faith? You will also end up engaging in slander and will finally invite punishment in the Interminable Hell (Avīcinaraka). This happens all too frequently! But even though you are not yet able to accept this in faith, if it passes through your ears just once and you feel an affinity with it for even a moment, the efficacy and merit will be incalculable. As it says in the Weixin jue (Secrets on Mind-Only), “Hearing [the dharma] but not believing it is still cause for the maturation of the seed of buddhahood. Training [on the Buddhist path] but not completing it is still merit surpassing that of humans and divinities.” But one who does not neglect the right cause for the attainment of buddhahood and who, moreover, listens and believes, trains and completes his training, and guards his achievement without forgetting it—how can his merit be calculated?